Search “longboarding” on google or Instagram and you’ll quickly realize how confusing it can be for new riders to decide which board to buy. Results will show a variety of different types of riding.
Some people are just cruising down a boardwalk, others flying down a mountain. You’ll see pics of people sliding on a board—some going sideways down a hill and others spinning on flat ground. You’ll see a few people in midair and others riding an inch off the ground.
With so much diversity in the world of skating, how is anyone supposed to know what type of riding they even like to do, much less be able to pick a board to start out?
Well, grab you a board that does it all—or at least most of it! My suggestion: the Zenit Mini Marble DK.
Zenit Mini Marble Riding Experience
There aren’t many boards that truly excel in multiple disciplines. In fact, more often than not, companies that try to make a “do it all” board end up creating a deck that performs decently at a few things, but not exceptionally at anything. A jack of all trades, master of none, so to speak.
The team over at Zenit has managed to do it right with their latest version of the Mini Marble DK (DK=Double Kick). The guys in Montreal have built a versatile, durable board that’s highly capable in multiple areas of riding: freestyle, freeriding, tech sliding, general cruising and carving, and even slower downhill. It’s a top tier quiver killer.
The Mini Marble has shorter-than-standard wheelbase options of 20.75”-22.75”. This allows even newer riders to easily kick out and get sideways on any wheel that isn’t super soft or grippy, especially on street trucks. It falls on the freeride/tech slide/freestyle end of the spectrum more than trying to be a hybrid freeride/freestyle/dancer.
The concave is simple, progressive, and effective. It locks your feet in without feeling too aggressive or busy. The deck is somewhat thin, but stiff.
The Mini Marble thrives at slower speeds. A lot of people associate freeriding only with holding long slides at high speeds on steep roads. In reality, many (most?) skaters don’t have easy access to such terrain. This board will allow you slide and spin on slight declines and even flats.
The smaller wheelbase and standing platform make for a fun grippy ride as well. If you have a small stance, hitting corner-heavy runs on this thing is a blast.
In terms of freestyle, there is a ton of pop on the Mini Marble. The stiffness and kicktails are a stellar combo for trying to ollie or kickflip. The kicks aren’t so long that you have to widen your stance too much in transition, nor are they so pronounced that your feet are uncomfortable when pushing.
- Deck: 38” long, 9” wide, 20.75-22.75” wheelbase
- Concave: .5” radial concave in middle, .7” at wheel flares
- Profile: .25” rocker
- Construction: 5 ply Maple sandwiched between pre-tensioned triaxal fiberglass
- Features: wheel flares, .25” micro drops
Zenit Marble Setup Suggestions
Cruising and carving? Throw ~165mm RKPs and some midsized cruising wheels on there (~65mm-70mm).
Trying to get techy or slidey? 169mm street trucks with harder wheels are the way to go. I use GSlides, Rain Skates, and Snakes most often, depending on how fast I want to get.
Want to do some grippy runs and hit tight corners? 165mm RKPs and Krimes are a good starting point. Get 150mm trucks and bigger wheels with even more grip if you want, you’ll just need to add a riser for clearance.
- Versatile (in terms of purpose, appropriate terrain, and setup options)
- High performance at slower speeds
- Maneuverable and lively
- Top class build quality
- Nice foot pockets that work for all types of riding
- Smaller standing space won’t work for some people
- Shorter wheelbase options aren’t ideal for someone looking solely for a freeride or downhill deck
How Does it Compare to its Peers?
There aren’t many double kick freestyle/freeride hybrids these days. Zenit has the Mini Marble and Marble 40. Then there’s the Bustin Shrike, Loaded Basalt Tesseract, Arbor Serrat 39, and Madrid Yeti.
Compared to these other options, the Mini Marble has the shortest of all but the Arbor, making it the most fun at slower speeds and when tech sliding. Arbor’s build quality isn’t as thoughtful or robust as Zenit’s and they only sell completes, which is less than ideal. Of the other 3, none has as much pop or secure concave as the Mini Marble.
When To Buy
If you’re a newer rider who isn’t quite sure which areas of skating you’ll like, get the Mini Marble. You can build skills in a number of areas before deciding what you love most.
If you’re more experienced and want a versatile board that truly performs at a high level in a number of disciplines, you would struggle to find a better option, especially if you have a smaller stance.
When Not To Buy
The smaller standing platform will be a turn off for anyone who has a longer stance or needs a bit of space in a tuck.
If you want a board that’s built for speed going downhill, pass on this board and try something from Zenit’s Marble or Rocket series.
If you’re trying to dance or do any board walking in general, the kicks on this board are a bit too pronounced, which limits standing space overall. If that’s where you want to dip your toes, in addition to being able to freeride, go for Zenit’s Marble 40” instead.
If you want one board to get you doing aerial tricks, technical sliding, and carvy cruising in one package, consider grabbing the Mini Marble. The combination of a shorter wheelbase, secure concave, and pronounced kicks make it easy to learn and develop these skills for new and experienced riders. 4.5 out of 5 stars
Go to zenitboards.com to grab your own.